Wedding Details | Part III

Alright, last up of my wedding details series (parts I & II)! This one is all about the music. I know you might be surprised that this is getting its own post, but this was the one aspect of our wedding we truly spent all 11 months of our engagement working on. As you'll see below, there are a lot more important song choices that go into the weekend than it seems!

Formal Ceremony Songs

  1. "Two Coins" by Dispatch > Processional - Bridesmaid Entrance

  2. "Dreamgirl" by Dave Matthews Band > Processional - Bride Entrance (we spliced this version a little to make the intro shorter)

  3. "For Once in My Life" by Stevie Wonder > Recessional

Ceremony music was easily the hardest to select! For our first two songs during the ceremony, we had David's sister, Lauren Nolan, & one of his best friends, Trace Loptien, sing "Songbird" & "I've Got This Friend". Lauren used to pursue a career in musical theater & Trace is a singer/songwriter living in Nashville. Right when we started planning our ceremony outline and had a general idea of our song selections, we listened to "I've Got This Friend" by the Civil Wars. We could both actually hear Lauren & Trace's voices through the song and knew this was perfect--it encompassed the vibe of David & I's relationship and the song couldn't have fit Lauren & Trace's styles better. Leading up to the wedding every time we listened to this song we got chills just thinking about hearing two of our favorite people perform it for us & our guests during our wedding ceremony--and they totally nailed it! And "Songbird" is just an all-around classic with some phenom lyrics, it flowed perfectly in between our readings.

After the vows & exchange of rings, my dear friend and college roommate, Brianne, performed "That's What's Up".  We wanted to end the ceremony with a more light-hearted/up-beat tune, but still have great meaning. In college, my friends & I used to love watching youtube videos of Lennon & Maisy--they're just the CUTEST I don't know how you can't not fall in love with them. Brianne is a killer guitarist and singer with all sorts of soul--she used to perform at our sorority talent competitions and always made us weep during her performances. Shortly after David & I got engaged I was listening to "That's What's Up" and actually started crying at the thought of Brianne performing this near the end of our ceremony. Not sure if it was the nostalgia factor of Brianne playing or the recently engaged emotions, but her performance on our wedding day was even more magical than I had hoped and was the best way to close our ceremony! 

As you can probably tell by now, music is so important to us! David pretty much took the reigns with hiring our DJ. He talked to 3 DJs in Southern California before we ultimately signed a contract with Elevated Pulse. Deciding to go DJ vs. band was pretty easy for us because there were a lot of songs we wanted to hear the original version of. These guys were phenomenal to work with and absolutely killed it on our wedding night! On multiple occasions I remember thinking "ok, I'll get a water from the bar next song" (because I was dancing my face off and needed some H20), but then DJ Mike would transition into another amazing song and I'd eventually send a friend to get me a water. I'm pretty sure no one left the dance floor ever.

In terms of playlists for the weekend, we started off with a major wedding day playlist that we ended up breaking out and parsing down. DJ Mike played everything in order on the cocktail hour & dinner playlists, but he used the reception playlist as a guide & primarily got creative/read the crowd for the reception post-dinner music. Our only musts were a) Remix to Ignition because that's my favorite song ever and b) end with Bohemian Rhapsody. All good wedding receptions end with an anthem IMO! 

Spotify Playlists

  1. Getting Ready - David

  2. Getting Ready - Ali

  3. Hanging by the Pool

  4. Cocktail Hour > a hodge podge of songs we loved in high school, some tunes by our friend Trace Jory, and some from David's favorite band, Phish.

  5. Reception Dinner > Mostly our favorite classic rock songs

  6. Reception > a sampling of songs we wanted to hear, but our DJ primarily did his own thing. A good mix of old + new!

  7. After Party > Total random mix of songs we love. We plugged in a phone to the speakers and people ended up putting on whatever they wanted from the playlist for the most part.

Formal Reception Songs

  1. Chicago Bulls Intro by Alan Parsons Project > Wedding Party Entrance

  2. "Stay" by Kygo > Bride/Groom Entrance to Reception

  3. "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison > Bride/Groom first dance

  4. "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King > David & his Mom's dance

  5. "Love Never Felt So Good" by Michael Jackson + Justin Timberlake > Me & my Dad's dance. My siblings joined a few minutes in.

  6. "You've got a Friend" by James Taylor > More of an honorable mention. For my dad's speech he sang this song to us and had our guests join in at different parts.

David & I had the hardest time thinking of an entrance to the reception song. One day at work about a month before our wedding the idea of the Bulls intro song popped into my head. I texted David & we both were literally freaking out to each other via text. Finally a song we both LOVED the idea of! We got so excited and decided to keep the song a surprise to our wedding party. All we said was don't do a cheesy dance, just strut your stuff with your partner when you hear your name! Almost the whole wedding party was from Chicago (and at least half of our guests) so it was AWESOME for David & I to see/hear our guests and bridesmaids/groomsmen reactions to hearing the familiar legendary Chicago Bulls lineup song bumping in the middle of the desert. It instantly pumped everyone up!

If you haven't already heard the story behind #6 above (my dad's song/speech), here it is! The 3 toasts leading up to my dad's were equally absolutely amazing. We were so wrapped up in all the emotion that was escalating, my heart was in a downright PUDDLE when 2 of my dad's best friends walked up behind him with their guitars strapped around their necks, ready to back him up on a song. In high school I performed in our school choir, and one year my dad joined our community choir for a competition in Italy. We've always sang & danced together at every major life event so it was completely fitting that he would sing David & I a song as his toast, but we were absolutely SHOCKED in the moment. The photos tell all. We went from "wait, is this really happening!?" to "brb, ugly crying" to "my heart is exploding in a million pieces this is the coolest EVER!" to sobbing for the rest of the song. Shock & disbelief followed by our hearts exploding over and over again each time a new group of friends and family stood up to join in for the different verses. Just. AMAZING. All the sudden it was over, and I jumped up to join my dad on the dance floor to (lip sing) & dance to Michael Jackson. Absolutely the best :) 

Bohemian Rhapsody topped all of our last song expectations. The video is below (thank you Mads for whipping out your phone to capture this after our videographer & photographer left!). Need I say more?

Hope you all found this series helpful! Let me know if you have any wedding-related questions--I'd love to help!


*Video content provided by Amari Productions. Click this link to see our highlight video by them.